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Others helping Rainbow House

By Ed Brock

The Rainbow House children's shelter is finding that it has a lot of friends who are coming to help in the shelter's time of need following a recent fire.

Some of them work at "A Friend's House" children's shelter in Henry County, and Friday they'll have a bake sale to raise money for their Clayton County colleagues.

"We saw the article in the paper and we said we must do this just for the Rainbow House," said Marina Rogers, program coordinator for A Friend's House. "Food fund-raisers for people we give to are usually popular."

Rogers said A Friend's House, which opened in 1998 was modeled after the Rainbow House. Both shelters house children who are temporarily separated from their families due to state intervention for drug abuse, deprivation or other reasons.

On Nov. 4 a fire broke out in a storage shed that was attached to the main building of Rainbow House. The shed was destroyed and the shelter was badly damaged by smoke and water, forcing it to close and ruining furniture, toys and electronics that must now all be replaced to bring the shelter within licensing regulations, said Rainbow House Inc. treasurer Judy Taylor.

And it turns out that the shelter's insurance won't cover the entire cost of replacing the items.

"We're going to have to spend up to $50,000 to $75,000," Taylor said. "We're going to make sure that it's put back in order, but it's going to cost."

Also, because no children are staying at the shelter they are also losing per diem reimbursements from the Department of Human Resources. Rainbow House Director Phil Kouns said previously that he hopes to reopen the shelter by Christmas.

While A Friend's House has taken in children from the Rainbow House before, Rogers said that none of the children who were staying there at the time of the fire were sent to the Henry County shelter.

But because of the two institutions' close relationship, staff members from A Friend's House will start baking cakes, pies and more this afternoon and begin delivering at 9:30 a.m. Friday. Because of limited staffing, Rogers said, they'll be limiting their deliveries to facilities nearby in McDonough and some places around Rainbow House to which they already faxed information on the sale.

She expects a lot of orders from the Henry Medical Center.

"That will be the biggest place we deliver to," Rogers said.

However, others who want to place an order and who might be close enough for a delivery can call (678) 432-1518, beginning Thursday.

Taylor said many organizations have been pitching in to help the shelter, and they're raising some money with annual fund-raisers like the Festival of Trees and Lights at Clayton County International Park that was held this past weekend. That festival is only in its second year so it only made a small profit, Taylor said, but they'll be leaving the lighted decorations up on the mile-long median on the park's main road with a box for donations.

Also, the 12th Annual Rainbow House Telethon will be held Saturday from 3 to 10 p.m., broadcasting from Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale on Channel 25 on Comcast Cable. People can make donations in person or call (770) 991-8666 during the telethon.

The Southern Crescent Symphony will be holding a performance Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Clayton County Schools Performing Arts Center in Morrow to benefit the shelter. Tickets are $10 for regular admission and $5 for students and seniors.

Call Rainbow House at (770) 478-6905 or go to its Web site at www.rainbowhouseinc.org for information on making donations.